(While it was still free when we visited, the recently completed building on the site suggests a fee will be charged in the near future)
Great for: Caves, Fairy Chimneys, Churches, Byzantine History, Phrygian History
Along the Afyon-Ankara highway is an easy access hidden gem of a sight. The village of Seydiler is backed by a tall hill in which a deep gully has been carved into the soft volcanic rock. The gully is flanked by beautiful fairy chimneys, strangely shaped rocks, and snow-like hills of powdery white sand. In the village itself a handful of old cave dwellings can still be found.
Just north of the town of Seydiler is a rock formation known as Kırkinler, meaning ‘Forty Dens’. Sadly there is little information available regarding the history of Kırkinler. What we do know is that the tall hummock of volcanic rock was first used by the Phrygians who had built an altar at the site. Later Christians, likely during the Byzantine period, filled the rock with chambers and passages, chapels, graves, and cells to serve as a monastic complex. There is one small church below on the South-East face of the rock formation, though it is by comparison quite plain.
The main body of the complex is reached through a number of openings on the North-West side and it’s here that you’ll see the most fascinating parts of Kırkinler. The complex, though not overly large is chaotic in its layout, making it feel almost labyrinthine. Walls and vaulted ceilings are covered in dozens of crosses carved in various styles and sizes. Near the entrance to the cross-filled portion of the complex is a narrow stair leading to the top of the rock formation offering a view of the surrounding countryside where you’ll be able to spot the occasional man-made opening carved into low rocky cliffs.
How To Get There
Regular buses connect the town of Seydiler to the city of Afyonkarahisar running from next to the Afyon Park mall.
Seydiler sits on the E96 highway connecting Afyon with the capital city of Ankara. Seydiler is 28 kms from Afyon and 22 kms from Ankara. Both Seydiler and Kırkinler have decent signage warning you before you’ll need to turn off and both are situated right next to the highway.
Seydiler is one of the trail-heads of the Phrygian Way hiking trail so it’s possible to reach the village from along the trail if you want to extend your hike an extra couple kilometers.
Where To Stay
The city of Afyon is 28 kilometres away and is home to a number of high-end thermal spa hotels. The city centre, especially along kadınana street, is home to a number of good value budget hotels as well.
As one of the starting points along the Phrygian Way Hiking Trail, camping is also an option.
Planning on visiting Seydiler or Kırkinler? Make sure to check out the rest of the Phrygian Valley sights, and what other amazing places there are in Afyonkarahisar.
Have any tips or info to add? Spot any mistakes? We’d love to hear about it.